Occasionally, Monk Ki disappears from the monastery. Master Ho Ha knows this. Monk Ki knows that Master Ho Ha knows this. Silence is maintained.
What is outside the gate?
The world keeps changing. Monk Ki looks for something in the kaleidoscope. Bits fall and twist forming momentary patterns of something familiar. Did he go to school with that woman? She has changed. Is that her son? Has that much time passed? That store, it used to be a record shop. Now it is a shop selling expensive clothing. Are the same customers shopping in the store?
Monk Ki sits on a park bench. He smiles. At the monastery there are times when the last thing in the world he wants to do is sit. Now he wants nothing more than to just sit.
He watches people. So many people seem to be in a hurry to get to some other place. Some people are happy. Some people are mad. Some people look askew at him. He wonders how he appears to them?
“Excuse me do you have the time?”
“I’m sorry. Did you just say something?” Monk Ki turns and gazes at a rather attractive woman. She smiles at him. He remembers a close friend.
“I asked if you had the time?”
“No. You misunderstand me. Do you know what time it is?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. No. But I have a watch under my robes. Can you wait a moment?”
He finds his watch. “Fifty-three minutes after noon. Does that help?”
“Why yes it does. I’m not late yet.”
“That is good?”
“Yes it is.”
“That means you have time to relax?”
“Heavens no! One must never relax. Busy, busy, busy. Lists to check off. Things to do. Pictures to paint. Friends to see. Words to write. So much to do. I never have enough time. Relax? Not likely.”
“That’s too bad. When you die will everything be completed?”
“Probably not. Why?”
“I was just wondering. It seems that if you already know you can’t do everything then you might as well relax.”
The woman looks at him and for a second almost seems to understand. “Thank you.” She hurries off.
“My pleasure.” Monkey places his hands together and watches a line of ants crawl across the concrete sidewalk. He wondered if they too keep lists?